Kenya: Elephant Poaching an International Scandal


Editorial, By Star Editor

Date Published

Poachers have killed five elephants this week alone deep inside the Tsavo West National Park.

The slaughter of elephants in Kenya is unacceptable.

Poaching is a national shame because it depletes our natural heritage of unique species, which also happen to be our tourism attractions.

The slaughter is also an international scandal because Kenyan poachers are clearly working in cahoots with transnational organised crime in the trafficking of wildlife products.

And now boda bodas are being used by poachers to make swift getaways, meaning the criminal network is widening.

It is high time poachers and their accomplices and paymasters faced severe penalties.

Dr Richard Leakey, who is once again head of KWS, was instrumental in tackling another epidemic in elephant and other wildlife poaching in the 1980s.

Among other measures, he deployed helicopter gunships and Maasai morans – to great deterrent effect.

Today, in the age of drones and a better-equipped and funded KWS, a long-term strategy to protect the elephants and other wildlife must be implemented, starting with much more deterrent anti-poaching and anti-trafficking laws.

The criminals must be put away for years, if not for life. Assets that are the proceeds of poaching and trafficking must be seized.